Jordan Jeffares’s Snowden project, which he started in his bedroom and has grown into a full band, has been a self-sufficient engine. The band members didn’t need a label or hype machine to get people to their shows; they’ve done it themselves. Their self-released debut made CMJ’s Top 30 and was regularly spun on college radio stations. Last year, the band shared stages with the Arcade Fire, Elefant, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Xiu Xiu and the Unicorns, only solidifying the impact their DIY years had on the independent scene.
I first saw Snowden a while back at the Black Cat in Washington, D.C. The band was on one of its many self-arranged tours along the East Coast, each show bringing more people than the last. But the first song of Anti-Anti initially had me worried. Snowden had finally signed to a label, the illustrious Jade Tree Records, and this record marked a big opportunity to expose Snowden’s music to a larger audience — and “Like Bullets” wasn’t selling me the way their live show had.
As the song ended, bleeding into the title track, the direction changed and I fell back into the record. If the riff-heavy “Like Bullets” had me pondering from a distance, “Anti-Anti” brought me right in, Jeffares’s voice an invitation into the fluid guitars and monstrous fuzz bass. From that moment, the record continues to provide solid pieces, a strange balance found between slower British indie-rock, in the vein of the Boxer Rebellion, and the atmospheric music of American bands such as I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness and Cities. Once New York City was the hub for Anglo-inspired tunes (and all things cool), but I’m finding myself more and more fascinated by the bands coming out of the South, and Georgia’s Snowden is no exception.
Anti-Anti revels in incongruity — the fuzz bass rejoicing in its lo-fi grittiness, as if it were being played through a broken ’60s amp; the drums well-produced and deftly placed into the mix along with other percussion. The guitars and synths slide in an out of the songs’ musical consciousness. The record is sweeping and big, but at the same time intimate and intricate. Jaffares’s voice finds its niche, unfolding softly from somewhere in the upper-middle register, complemented by the instrumental arrangements.
I was pulled into the record from the first listen but, as with all records that survive more than a few months in my CD collection, Anti-Anti became more pleasing with repeated listens — even “Like Bullets” has been approved as the album’s opener now. If I am in any way correct and Anti-Anti is that Big Opportunity — well, Snowden have put together a record that grows the more your stereo nurtures it, more and more elements are revealed as Anti-Anti continuously unfolds.
“Anti-Anti” MP3: http://media.jadetree.com/Snowden-Anti-Anti.mp3